Background: Disconnected left pancreatic remnant (DLPR) presents clinically as a pancreatic fistula, pseudocyst, or obstructive pancreatitis. Optimal operative treatment, either distal pancreatectomy (DP) or internal drainage (ID), remains unknown. This paper critically evaluates our operative experience in patients with DLPR. Methods: A retrospective analysis of a consecutive case series from a single, high-volume institution was carried out. A total of 76 patients with radiographic-confirmed DLPR (computed tomography + endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) who had operations between November 1995 and September 2008 were included. Pancreas preservation (the use of ID) was our default unless anatomic, physiologic, or technical factors precluded it. Follow-up to July 2009 was done (median follow-up, 22 months). Standard statistical methodology was used (P < .05 = statistical significance). Results: The mean age of this cohort was 52 years (range, 18-85); 57% of the patients were male. A total of 59 (73%) had acute pancreatitis, whereas 17 (22%) had chronic pancreatitis. Presentation was pseudocyst in 53%, pancreatic fistula in 34%, and obstructive pancreatitis in 13%. Resection (DP) and drainage (ID) options were utilized equally for each clinical presentation as follows: pseudocyst, 60/40; pancreatic fistula, 50/50; or obstructive pancreatitis, 50/50. The strongest driver for DP (92%) was a small pancreatic remnant and splenic vein thrombosis. In contrast, large pancreatic remnants had ID 70% of the time. No differences in short- or long-term outcomes between DP or ID options were identified. Conclusion: Using anatomic, physiologic, and technical factors to guide operative choice in DLPR, we report a 74% success rate with DP and an 82% success rate with ID at a median follow-up of 22 months. A pancreatic remnant size >6 cm favored ID options over resection.
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